The welfare and suitability of primates kept as pets

CD Soulsbury, G Iossa, S Kennell, S Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Amidst growing concern about keeping exotic species as pets, primates have been highlighted as being inappropriate for private ownership. However, there has been no comprehensive review of the suitability of primates as pets using a framework such as Schuppli & Fraser's (2000), which incorporates the (a) welfare of the individual, (b) welfare of others and (c) welfare of the environment. We examine the numbers, origin, ages and ownership trends of primates kept as pets in the UK and globally, and identify a number of welfare, health and environmental concerns. Overall, there is strong evidence to support the argument that primates are not suitable pets and it is unlikely that the welfare of pet primates can be adequately addressed in normal households. Finally, we assess the degree of public concern about the welfare of primates kept as pets in England and Wales using unpublished data on complaints and enquiries received by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. We identify a wide range of concerns about keeping pet primates and conclude that this practice should end.
Translated title of the contributionThe welfare and suitability of primates kept as pets
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
VolumeIn press
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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